Smog insurers, authorities tested by latest pollution
Updated: 2014-03-25 11:01
"Smog is also foreseeable in the upcoming Tomb-sweeping holiday, when Chinese traditionally burn incense to remember and honor their ancestors," said Shanghai resident Li Kui, who has signed up for a specialist smog policy launched by Ping An Insurance (Group) of China.
In exchange for premiums of 10 to 15 yuan, Ping An has promised to cough up as much as 50 yuan a day to those subjected to hazardous skies.
The insurance plan covers seven cities, where pay-out criteria vary, although they are all based on readings from mobile phone app Fresh Ideas Studio. In Beijing, the app will have to show an air pollution index above 200, and in Shanghai, it will have to top 100.
Ping An put the insurance plan on sale only from March 19 to 26. According the company, it has already sold out of the policies, although it did not specify the number it offered.
"The insurance is a publicity stunt, but it also encourages the public to care more about their health," said Li.
Beijing's official Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 228 at 6 pm on Monday, when that of Fresh Ideas Studio registered 212.
The Beijing Environmental Monitoring Center said the smog will probably linger in the coming days, as the weather is unlikely to help disperse it.
The People's Insurance Company (Group) of China Ltd, the nation's largest insurer, also launched a policy on March 18 to compensate Beijingers made ill by air pollution with up to 1,800 yuan.